At the time when that first unnamed white man saw the Cataract the Indians had, and firmly believed in, at least one positive tradition regarding it; one which had long been believed in by the tribes far and near, and which had long been turned to good account in trade by former generations of Indians who dwelt at Niagara; and which was believed in and maintained for many a year afterwards. It was a tradition which had long caused the vicinity of the Cataract to be known far and wide as, and to be, a great Center of Trade; because it related to a highly-prized commodity which was found and primarily procurable only at this spot.
The first printed direct mention of Niagara referred to its famous Portage. The two next references to it were indirect and poetic, and, in so far as geographical location, certainly exemplified a poet's license.
The second printed allusion to it,--an indirect one, as noted later,--was in regard to trade.
Champlain was on the lower St. Lawrence R